Stop toothaches before they get worse!

What is root canal treatment?

  • before-root-canal-treatment
    Tooth is painful and has cold sensitivity. It also has an abscess which can be seen on the X-ray.

Root canal treatment is a procedure performed by your dentist to remove infection and save your tooth. When dental cavities cause a tooth to become infected, you require a root canal treatment. Dental infection typically starts off when bacteria find a way to penetrate your tooth. Cavity bugs work their way into your tooth until they reach the nerve. Once this occurs, your tooth is now infected. A simple filling or crown is no longer an option at this point. The only way to fix infected teeth is to perform a root canal treatment, otherwise you will lose the tooth. Performing a root canal lets you keep the infected tooth while at the same time eliminating pain and infection.

Contact your dentist if you believe that your tooth is infected and it requires root canal treatment. Don’t forget, infected teeth never fix themselves! These teeth continue to remain infected until your dentist fixes them. The sooner you rid yourself of a tooth infection, the less pain and side-effects you will suffer from.

When do I need root canal therapy?

Whenever your tooth nerve becomes infected, you will require a root canal treatment. Most root canal treatments are performed to fix infected teeth. Here are a few of the many other reasons why your tooth may require a root canal treatment:

Eliminating tooth infection

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Your tooth becomes infected once cavity bugs enter your tooth nerve

Most toothaches are a result of untreated dental cavities that infect your tooth nerve. When a cavity reaches your tooth nerve, the tooth is now infected. Infected teeth cause a lingering, throbbing, long-lasting pain. These teeth are also very sensitive to hot and cold. Infected teeth harbor harmful bacteria that may spread to other teeth or the rest of your body. Performing a root canal therapy will eliminate pain and infection, while allowing you to save your tooth.

Dental trauma

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Fractured tooth sometimes require root canal treatment to save your tooth

The next most common indication for root canal treatment is fixing fractured teeth. Deep tooth fractures impact your tooth nerve which requires a a root canal treatment. Performing a root canal treatment rids your tooth of infection and allows your dentist to restore your tooth back to its original shape.

Elective root canal therapy

There are a few instances which mandate an elective root canal treatment. One example would be when dental cavity is too close to your tooth nerve. You may not have a toothache just yet, but if your dentist removes the tooth decay then you risk developing infection and toothache. In such instances, an elective root canal treatment is performed to keep your tooth from hurting. Elective root canal therapy is commonly used during full mouth reconstruction. Root canal treatment is used to correct tooth positioning or to prevent risk of infection on teeth with a high-risk of developing an infection.

Root canal therapy for baby teeth

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“Baby root canal” removes infection from baby teeth so you can save these teeth

Even baby teeth sometimes require root canal treatment! Root canal for baby teeth is known as pulpotomy. Its purpose is to remove infection from baby teeth while saving your tooth. Luckily, puplotomy is a much simpler process than adult root canal. By receiving a pulpotomy, your child can keep his or her infected tooth while at the same time eliminating pain and infection. Losing baby teeth can have serious consequences. For example, it can affect your child’s speech, confidence, and cause orthodontic issues.

Is having root canal infection always painful?

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While most root canal infections cause severe pain, there are cases that are not painful at all

Root canal infection can cause extreme pain and discomfort. However, not all root canal infections are painful. This means that despite the fact that your tooth is infected, there may be little or no pain. Here are some examples of cases where root canal infection does not cause severe pain:

Long-standing infection

Tooth with a chronic infection sometimes develop resistance to pain. In other words, if you don’t fix an infected tooth, it may eventually stop hurting after a while. Unfortunately, this does not mean that the infection has gone away. Infected teeth never fix themselves and they continue to remain infected until treated by your dentist or removed from your mouth. Don’t ignore your infected and painful teeth! Visit your dentist to fix your problem before it gets worse.

Clogged nerve canals

Sometimes our teeth develop clogged nerve canals. When your nerves clog up, your tooth becomes resistant to pain. Teeth with clogged up nerve canals can develop infection without showing any symptoms of pain or discomfort. The same way that your blood vessels clog up, your teeth nerves can also clog up and become resistant to pain. Teeth with clogged nerve canals are more common among the elderly population.As a result, many seniors do not experience much pain when that have infected teeth.

As you can see, not all root canal infections are always painful. Regardless, all infected teeth must be treated by your dentist with a root canal or tooth extraction. Leaving an infected tooth in your mouth can have serious consequences. It can harm your remaining teeth or the infection can spread through to the rest of your body through the bloodstream or sinuses. The sooner you seek treatment your tooth infection, the better the final outcome!

What is a typical root canal procedure like?

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Root canal treatment can take a long time, anywhere from 30 minutes up to 3 hours!

In reality, root canal treatment is really nothing more than filling for your tooth nerve. Of course, a root canal procedure is much more complex than a simple dental filling. It takes a long time to remove your tooth nerve, disinfect it, and fill the empty nerve canal. Here are the steps involved in a typical root canal treatment:

Nerve removal and disinfection

Root canal treatment starts off like most other dental treatments by numbing your mouth. It usually takes several shots to get numb enough for root canal treatment. Don’t worry, your dentist will make sure that you’re completely numb before starting treatment. Once numb, your dentist will isolate your tooth with a device known as a rubber dam. Your dentist will remove the cavity until he or she has has gained access to your nerve canal. Removing the nerve canal is a tedious process and requires patience. Your dentist will use these skinny wires, known as endodontic files, to gradually remove your tooth nerve. Your dentist will also apply a series of disinfectants into your nerve canal to kill offending bacteria.

Filling your tooth nerve

Your tooth nerve has been completely removed and the tooth is disinfected. It’s now time to fill up the nerve canals with a neutral filling material. This prevents cavity bugs from reinfecting the tooth. Your dentist will insert a sterile material, known as Gutta Percha, to fill up the tooth nerve. Gutta percha seals off your tooth to prevent bacteria from reinfecting your tooth. Once the gutta percha has been applied, your tooth is now sealed off and your root canal treatment is complete.

A typical root canal procedure takes anywhere from 30 minutes up to 2 to 3 hours. It all depends on the complexity of your case and the comfort level of your dentist with root canals. We recommend that you bring your headphone to listen to music as it will help you relax. Some dentists offer Nitrous Oxide gas or sedative medications to calm you down, so be sure to talk to your dentist if you’re anxious. Don’t stress out too much though. Once your tooth is numbed up, the rest of your root canal procedure is pretty easy and straightforward. Just relax and let your dentist fix your tooth to make the pain go away.

Is root canal therapy the best option for fixing infected teeth?

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If you don’t have enough tooth structure left to restore your tooth then it’s recommended to get a dental implant instead of a root canal

We always recommend that you save your own tooth whenever it’s possible. Teeth with successful root canal treatment have excellent long-term prognosis and they could last you a lifetime. Of course, there are occasions where saving a tooth is simply not worth it. Some time you may not have enough tooth structure left to restore your tooth. In these cases, it’s best to remove your tooth and go with a dental implant instead. Other times you may suffer from advanced periodontal disease around the tooth. Again, removing your teeth and placing a dental implant is a better option here. Deciding between a dental implant or a root canal treatment could be somewhat tricky. Only you and your dentist can decide which treatment option is best for your mouth.

Root canal treatment in San Clemente, Orange County

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We offer root canal treatment for all teeth in San Clemente, Orange County

Give us a call today if you are in need of a root canal treatment and live in Orange County. You can reach us at (949)481-2540 or book your appointment online today. We offer root canal treatment for all teeth, including molars. Our dentist, Dr. Jazayeri, will evaluate your tooth to see if it requires a root canal treatment. We will discuss the pros and cons of root canal therapy and present alternative treatment options whenever applicable. Don’t wait until your toothache worsens and the infection spreads! Give us a call to schedule your appointment and start fixing your smile today.

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To learn more about different dental treatments related to root canal therapy, click on the following links:

Definition of General Dentistry Terminology

Abscess (cyst)

A pus pocket containing harmful bacteria that forms around infected teeth. Teeth with abscess are considered infected and they either need root canal treatment or must be extracted.

Amalgam (silver filling)

Material used to fill dental cavities. Amalgam is silver colored and contains Mercury. As a filling material, Amalgam is durable and effective. However, there are some concerns about the safety of using Mercury to restore teeth.

Bicuspid tooth

Refer to premolar tooth please.

Canine tooth (cuspid or eye tooth)

A strong, pointed tooth with a single cusp used to direct other teeth as we chew side-to-side. Canine teeth are very strong and typically outlast all other teeth as we age. We have 4 total canines, teeth numbers: 6, 11, 22 and 27.

Cavity (decay)

A hole inside a tooth created by harmful cavity bugs. Dental cavities can cause slight tooth sensitivity, particularly to cold and sweets. They can also be asymptomatic. If left untreated, dental cavities infiltrate the tooth pulp and cause abscess and infection.

Composite resin (white filling)

Material used to fill dental cavities and broken teeth. Composite resin is safe, effective and matches your tooth color. Cosmetic dentists prefer using composite resins to other filling restoration material due to their natural appearance.

Crown (cap)

A large restoration that replaces the majority of your tooth structure above the gum line. Crowns are used to fix teeth which can no longer be salvaged with a simple filling. Crowns are typically made from gold, porcelain-fused-to-metal or ceramic material.

Decay

Refer to cavity please.

Deep cleaning (scaling & root planning)

A type of dental cleaning which focuses on removing plaque and tartar underneath your gum line. Deep cleanings are used to treat gum disease. Most deep cleanings are performed in multiple sessions and often times require anesthesia.

Dental cleaning

Teeth cleaning performed by your dentist or hygienist. Dental cleaning focuses on removing plaque and tartar which can’t be removed by brushing or flossing alone. Dental cleanings are categorized as simple cleaning or deep cleaning.

Dentin

The middle portion of your tooth which is located above the pulp and underneath the enamel. Unlike enamel, dentin has nerve endings which makes it sensitive to tooth decay.

Denture

Removable, false teeth used to replace your missing natural teeth. Dentures are made from pink and white acrylic. The pink portion secures your dentures in place and the white segment replaces your missing teeth. There are many different types of dentures including full dentures and partial dentures.

Enamel

The very hard outer portion of your tooth. In fact, enamel is the hardest tissue found in our bodies. Enamel protects your tooth from cavities and provides it with the strength to cut and chew food.

Filling

Material used by dentists to replace missing tooth structure. Fillings are used to fix dental cavities and broken teeth. Fillings are made from gold (mostly obsolete), Amalgam (silver filling) or composite resin (white filling).

Full Denture (Complete denture)

A set of false teeth which replaces all of your teeth in one arch. Full dentures are held in place by the suction they provide against your gum tissue. Full dentures are typically made from pink and white acrylic.

Gingivitis

The earlier stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is characterized by bleeding gums, bad breath and minor tooth sensitivity. If left untreated, gingivitis progresses to the more advanced stage of gum disease known as periodontitis.

Gum Disease (Periodontal disease)

Disease of the gums and jaw bone. Gum disease is caused by spread of harmful bacteria to your gum and jaw bone. Gum disease causes bleeding gums, bone loss and tooth loss. Gum disease is categorized as gingivitis and periodontitis.

Impacted Tooth

A tooth which is trapped underneath your jaw bone. Impacted tooth typically refers to wisdom teeth, although other teeth can also be impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth usually need to be removed. Other impacted teeth need to be removed, monitored or uprighted by your orthodontist.

Incisor tooth

The front most four teeth in your upper and lower jaw. Incisor teeth are used to cut food particles. We have 8 total incisors, teeth numbers: 7, 8, 9, 10, 23, 24, 25 and 26.

Infection

Spread of harmful bacteria into your tooth nerve. Once cavity bugs reach your tooth nerve, the tooth is now infected. Infected teeth can only be fixed with a root canal or you must remove the tooth completely.

Inlay

A type of crown which is a hybrid between fillings and crowns. Inlays are essentially conservative crowns which protect teeth similar to a crown but are conservative similar to a filling. Inlays are smaller than onlays and do not encompass your outer tooth walls.

Molar tooth

Teeth located in the back of our mouth which have four cusps. Molar teeth are large and used to crush food particles. We have 8 total molars, teeth numbers: 2, 3, 14, 15, 18, 19, 30 and 31. Additionally, some of us have 3rd molars or wisdom teeth which are teeth numbers: 1, 16, 17 and 32.

Nerve

Refer to pulp please.

Night guard

A device worn at nights to protect your teeth against grinding. Night guards help reduce tooth fracture, TMJ pain and headaches. There are two types of night guards, generic night guards which you purchase online or from a local pharmacy and custom night guards which your dentist makes for you.

Onlay

A type of crown which is a hybrid between fillings and crowns. Onlays are essentially conservative crowns which protect teeth similar to a crown but are conservative similar to a filling. Onlays are larger than inlays and encompass at least one or more of your outer tooth walls.

Partial Denture

A set of false teeth which replaces some, but not all, of your missing teeth. Partial dentures are held in place by anchoring to your remaining teeth as well as suction against your gum tissue. Partial dentures can be made from different material including metals, acrylic and flexible resin.

Periodontal disease

Refer to gum disease please.

Periodontitis

The more advanced stage of gum disease. Periodontitis is characterized by bone loss, major tooth sensitivity and loose teeth. If left untreated, periodontitis causes your teeth to loosen and fall out. Plus, the resulting infection can spread to the rest of your body and affect your overall health.

Premolar tooth (bicsupid)

Transitional teeth between our front and molar teeth. Premolars have two cusps and are used to crush food particles. They are also the teeth most commonly removed for braces treatment. We have 8 total bisupids, teeth numbers: 4, 5, 12, 13, 20, 21, 28 and 29.

Pulp (nerve)

The innermost tooth layer which lies underneath your dentin. Your tooth pulp contains nerves and blood vessels. When your tooth pulp becomes damaged this results in a toothache. Once this happens, you require a root canal treatment or must remove the tooth.

Pulpotomy

Pulpotomy is the equivalent of a baby root canal. It entails removing the nerve structure from infected baby teeth. Performing a pulpotomy eliminates toothache while allowing your child to keep the tooth itself in order to prevent potential orthodontic complications.

Root canal treatment

A procedure to remove infected tooth nerve to eliminate pain and infection. During root canal treatment your dentist will disinfect your tooth and replace the missing nerve with sterile material known as Gutta Percha. Root canal treatment eliminates pain and infection and allows you to keep the tooth.

Scaling & root planning

Refer to deep cleaning please.

Sealant

A preventive treatment used to protect children’s teeth. Dental sealants are placed on teeth with deep groves, typically molars, to protect them against tooth decay and infection. Sealants are very effective and safe and do not require any tooth structure removal.

Sedation

Techniques used to calm patients with anxiety during dental treatment. There are many different sedation techniques in dentistry such as Nitrous Oxide, oral conscious sedation, IV sedation and general anesthesia.

Silver filling

Refer to Amalgam please.

Simple cleaning

A dental cleaning performed in absence of gum disease. Simple cleanings typically entail basic tooth scraping and polishing, occasionally with Fluoride treatment. Most people require a simple cleaning once every 6 months, although if you’re suffering from gum disease you need one every 3 to 4 months.

Third molar

Refer to wisdom tooth please.

White filling

Refer to composite resin please.

Wisdom tooth (third molar)

Tooth which is located all the way in the back of your mouth. Wisdom teeth start erupting in your late teens or twenties. Not everyone has wisdom teeth. For those that do, there’s a high probability that you have to remove these teeth. Otherwise, they will cause pain, swelling and infection.

Oceansight Dental & Implants

General, Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry

Office of Ali John Jazayeri

106 S Ola Vista

San Clemente, CA 92672


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